Wardrobe Wednesday: Turtlenecks

Photo courtesy of Moda Elle

Turtlenecks have made a huge fashion comeback this season which is great to hear. There is no need to sacrifice style for warmth anymore because the turtleneck and its cousins are here to stay. It is one of this season’s coziest and chic pieces.

Turtleneck generally refers to a top with a high, close-fitting neck. But, variations do exist, such as the mock-neck, funnel-neck and the cowl. The mock-neck isn’t quite has high up on the neck as the turtle. The funnel is as high, but not as tight fitting and the cowl drapes down and away from the face.

If you google the origin or the turtleneck, it has quite a history. Surprisingly, their purpose wasn’t originally fashion, but rather protection during medieval times. Knights wore chainmail in battle which caused chaffing and injury to their necks restricting movement during battle. Wearing turtlenecks under the chainmail fixed the problem. From that point on turtlenecks maintained a presence throughout history, but flipped back and forth from function to fashion. 16th century royalty wore ruffled high necks. Then, the working class of the 1800s and polo players wore them for function. When the 1900s came around, the turtleneck went back to be a fashion staple and stayed there.

Turtlenecks are so versatile. They can go from casual to office wear to evening gowns. They are even seen on high fashion runways these days. This neck is available in cozy chunky knits to lace evening gowns. Turtlenecks have come a long way from just being a standard sweater. We are seeing turtlenecks as sexy tops and dresses combined with the cold shoulder look. They come in every shape, colour and fabric so that they fit easily into everyone’s wardrobe.

Although, I love turtlenecks and own numerous variations of them, there are mixed feelings on this fashion staple. Some love them for style and/or warmth. Others, have trouble with the neck and feel rather claustrophobic and would rather, frankly, move to Florida than have to wear a turtleneck.

If you love Turtlenecks, here are a few tips…

  • A great trick to elongate the body is to wear the same colour turtleneck and pants or skirt, better yet a turtleneck dress and high boots. This is an amazing look for petites.
  • Turtlenecks emphasize the bust, so be sure to wear a good, supportive bra.
  • If you are busty, you can still wear a turtleneck, but make sure to add a long necklace to pull the attention away from your chest.
  • Turtlenecks look really good with short hair or wear your hair up to flatter your face.
  • These sweaters are great for layering, so pair them with a pullover, cardi or blazer. This is a great look and you will be cozy and warm.

The turtleneck is probably one of the most versatile fashion staples in your wardrobe this winter. So, hurry out and stock up. Better yet, put them on your Christmas list. Santa may just put a few under the tree for you. 

Karen has had a passion for style and fashion most of her life. Her lifelong dream came to fruition 17 years ago when she opened her boutique Moda Elle in Plaza Pointe Claire. Karen prides herself on excellent personalized service and truly loves to make her clientele happy. She recently doubled the size of the boutique in order to serve the well-dressed West Island women better.